Blueberry Summer

We went up north to Lost Branch Blueberry Farm to (you guessed it) pick blueberries a few weeks ago.  They have delicious berries, and we really enjoy going.  We were able to go once a few years ago, and I just recently finished the berries we had frozen from that trip.  I was really glad that we were able to pick more!

We have great timing – we went up on what was predicted to be the hottest day of the year yet.  And it was pretty hot.  I picked until 6:30/7-ish, but most of our group had already stopped by that point.  I ended up burning BOTH my arms and my neck (so I was a regular redneck, ha ha).

The heat really wasn’t all that bad.  Once you had gone out there and gotten used to it, the heat didn’t bother you.  Or at least, it didn’t bother me.

We drove up with some friends of ours, and picked that afternoon/evening (I can’t remember a date – although it was a Tuesday).  That evening we had dinner with the P. family (sweet friends of ours), and then headed back to the lodge to turn in stay up way-too-late talking.  But it was fun.

The next morning, Meiling, Mom, and I went to pick some more while Noah and the friends we drove up with went swimming in the pond.  It was a very nice pond, I would have gone swimming in it, too, except for two things:

1.  I hadn’t brought a swimsuit, and I had no spare clothes to get dirty.

2.  I was there to pick.

We left Wednesday afternoon, having picked 41 pounds of berries.

When we got back that evening, the grand processing took place.  We started washing and freezing the berries, and deciding how many we were going to leave out for other purposes.  We froze all but two colanders-full, which would be used for some canning (blueberry syrup) and a pie.

That night Mom wanted me to use up some apricots that I had been planning to use in a crisp, but were aging on the counter instead.  I pulled up a recipe, and cut up the apricots, but I didn’t have enough for a whole batch.  Mom added a few tired peaches, but we still didn’t have enough.  I threw in a handful of blueberries and a few pitted cherries.  Mom tried some that night and said it was really good.  I can’t comment, because I made it gluten and grain-ful and didn’t eat any, but Noah liked it too, and I believe Drake did.

On this past Wednesday I canned four jars of what was supposed to be blueberry syrup, but I think it is really jam.  I made a pie the same day, which used up one colander of berries.  I am hoping to can some syrup that remains syrup with the remaining colander full.

 

Thanks for having us, Lost Branch Blueberry Farm!  It was a blast!

 

_MG_0609

The blues

_MG_0619

 

_MG_0621

Pom juice on manager’s special at Kroger – got to love it!

_MG_0624

 

_MG_0625

My berry bucket

_MG_0634

Wednesday morning – in the blueberry patch

_MG_0638

 

_MG_0639

 

_MG_0645

 

_MG_0647

Walking back to the lodge – A harvested wheat feild

_MG_0653

 

_MG_0657

The fruit mixture of my crisp

_MG_0658

Lots o’ berries

_MG_0659

 

_MG_0660

The crisp topping

_MG_0661

Mom had gotten several pineapples on sale at the grocery store…

_MG_0663

…so we dehydrated several

_MG_0669

A blueberry rolled under the oven, and Lucy was trying to get at it.  Poor Lucy.

_MG_0674

Apricot-Peach-Blueberry-Cherry Crisp

Advertisements

The Garden

As I was walking outside today, I realized that I hadn’t walked through the garden just to look for awhile.  So I went to take a look.

This year we have tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, asparagus, herbs, and some lettuce.  Everything seems to be doing very well!

_MG_0419

The garden

_MG_0420

We have some tomato blossoms…

_MG_0427

…and some tomatoes!

_MG_0435

Actually, quite a few tomatoes

_MG_0437

Asparagus

_MG_0441

Most of the asparagus looks like this

_MG_0444

Lots of butterflies!

_MG_0447

Busy bee in the thyme

_MG_0456

Thyme

_MG_0457

Cilantro

_MG_0460

Apple mint

_MG_0461

Butterfly!

_MG_0471

Lavender

_MG_0475

 

_MG_0477

Our parsley is about two feet tall now!

_MG_0480

Orange mint

_MG_0482

Lettuce

_MG_0488

We have some cucumbers like this…

_MG_0491

…some like this…

_MG_0494

…and some with flowers!  Another butterfly

_MG_0496

I found this interesting cucumber blossom

_MG_0508

And had to take many photos of it!

_MG_0509

 

_MG_0501

Look at all these little cucumbers!

_MG_0506

 

_MG_0512

 

_MG_0511

Climbing

Spring Flowers

Spring is coming – actually, it’s starting to feel like it’s here.  Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and trees are leafing.

(Is that how you would say it?  Trees are leafing out?  I don’t know.  But, whatever. :))

Anyways, here are some flower photos that I have taken recently.

_MG_9032

 

_MG_9079

 

_MG_9143

 

_MG_9152

 

_MG_9154

 

_MG_9254

 

_MG_9259

 

_MG_9482

 

_MG_9495

 

_MG_9498

 

_MG_9499

 

_MG_9524

 

_MG_9532

 

_MG_9582

 

_MG_9589

 

_MG_9590

 

_MG_9592

 

_MG_9594

 

_MG_9598

 

_MG_9609

 

_MG_9614

 

_MG_9619

 

_MG_9630

 

_MG_9633

 

_MG_9647

 

_MG_9651

Frost. Ice. Books.

The theme for yesterday’s 6 Lenses photo was favorite book.  So I took a large stack of books and all the necessary extras out to the-trees-in-the-pasture-across-the-road to take a picture.

Now the distance from the gate to the trees seems quite long when you are hauling a wagon containing 2 bags stuffed with books, a thermos of tea (for the pictures, not to drink), a camera bag, a quilt, and a teacup, with the other hand holding the camera.  Also, the tall grass covered with ice didn’t aid my journey.

Basically, after hauling out there and back, I was tired.  And cold.

So when I was done, I went inside and started a pot of coffee.

Then I went back outside with just my camera and macro lens to take a few pictures before I went in to have my mocha.

 

These past few days have been normal, or as close to normal as my life ever comes.  Just the norms.  School.  Chores.  Dinners.  Nothing all that exciting.

Something a bit more exciting is that the first part of my midwifery correspondence course came last week in the mail.  Mom and I ordered the first group of books that I need for it on Saturday, and I started it today.  I can’t wait for my books to arrive (the earliest I can expect them is the 18th).  Oh, I am SO looking forward to reading and learning!

I am not currently planning any desserts this week – but I am hoping that we will be able to pick up another of my favorite chocolate bars (Lindt 90%).  I finished the one I had today.  It was really good.  And now I want more.

I am planning a few new dinners for later this week, from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.  We’ll see if they make it on here.  I haven’t been posting that many savory things lately – mostly just the sweets.  🙂

Oh.  I just remembered.  I will be making Mom some coffee chocolate chip coconut milk ice cream this week, and I will hopefully make Dad some chocolate peanut butter frozen yogurt.  I also owe my brother Noah a chocolate cake.  (For Christmas, I let both of my brothers choose any recipe they wanted, and I would make it for them.  Noah requested a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.  Drake wanted Brazilian Black Beans.  I think I am going to make Drake’s when I come off this diet, so I can eat it.  I really like Brazilian Black Beans.)  But I probably won’t make his chocolate cake until next week.  (I need to add all three of these things to my schedule.)

Well, that’s all for now, folks!

And now, a few pictures.  (You can never tell beforehand how long this section is going to be.)

_MG_7067

The frozen grass I was trying to plow through

_MG_7075

Frost

_MG_7079

I should have tried to get this shot horizontally, but I guess I forgot.  Plus, this blade of grass was very close to the ground.  And normally I am not very close to the ground.  This made photographing it rather difficult.

_MG_7086

Thistle

_MG_7092

 

_MG_7099

Hate these things.  Vehemently.  I was VERY careful to walk AROUND them.

_MG_7124

This is the photo I posted on 6 Lenses yesterday.  Couldn’t decide if I liked the vertical one…

_MG_7118

…or the horizontal one better.  What do you think?

_MG_7130

(Said with an accent) A spot of tea!

_MG_7143

Throwing out the tea

_MG_7144

 

_MG_7158

Ice is SO FUN to photograph.  It has all the benefits of photographing water, except it stays much more still.  The only downside is that it is cold out.  Freezing cold.

_MG_7167

There is a slight focusing difference between these two photos.  Which one do you like better: 1…

_MG_7173

…or 2?

_MG_7181

 

_MG_7184

 

_MG_7196

SPARKLES!

_MG_7201

 

_MG_7204

 

_MG_7208

A Fun Breakfast and Today’s Walk

I have had a bit of inspiration for a yummy breakfast dish, and on Sunday I finally had all the pieces together, so I made it.  It consisted of a piece of warmed ham, sautéed spinach, and a poached egg, then drizzled drenched with some hollandaise sauce.  It was yummy!  I might have to make one tomorrow for breakfast.  We’ll see how much time I have…

Here is a link to the hollandaise sauce recipe I used.  I think I halved it.  This recipe is great, as it is made in a blender, and is so quick to throw together!  Just what we all need – hollandaise sauce at the touch of a few buttons!

Now for the photos! (Yes, I *actually* remembered to take a picture of my food before I ate it all!  I could have a serious gallery of empty plate photos if I took one each time I didn’t remember to take a picture before my food was gone.)

_MG_5730

LOTS of hollandaise sauce!

_MG_5738

 

_MG_5735

The lovely colors

 

I took some photos on my walks today.  I took my two youngest siblings on a walk first (on this walk I took my camera with my macro lens.)  Then I went up to the pasture-behind-the-pond by myself, bringing normal lens.  I also brought my hymnal and psalter.  Yesterday I discovered that the pasture-behind-the-pond is an ideal spot to sing.  It is so open and peaceful, it is a joy to lift up one’s voice there.  You can hear it echo just a little, and you are secluded enough that you can sing at the top of your lungs and not be worried about anyone being too near.

I am hoping to start taking walks every day.  I will try not to post too many photos of my walks here, but if it snows, you know there will have to be lots of photos!  (I LOVE snow.)

So first, the photos of my walk with Meiling and Noah.

_MG_5867

My favorite trees are the out-of-focus blob in the background 🙂

_MG_5872

Who knew weeds could be so much fun?

_MG_5875

 

_MG_5886

 

_MG_5895

 

_MG_5900

An old grave – I am not sure, as the stone is very worn, but I think it said 1836.

_MG_5926

 

Now the photos I took on my walk.

_MG_5938

A girl needs her chocolate, right?

_MG_5948

The pasture-behind-the-pond

_MG_5955

My hymnbook

_MG_5958

 

_MG_5963

 

_MG_5974

Heading home

_MG_5988

 

_MG_5991

 

In my science book I was reading about astronomy, namely, the Milky Way galaxy.  Now every time I read “Milky Way,” you know what I though of?  Milky way candy bars, of course!  (Why do I seem to have this special ability to wrap food into anything?!?)  So, since my success with the Twix bars, I decided it would be fun to try to make Milky Way candy bars!  I am hoping to make them tomorrow.  Be sure to come back tomorrow evening – if I do make them, I will be sure to post pictures!  Oh, and they will be grain-free, made with coconut sugar, and all that good stuff.  🙂  It should be SO FUN!  (I am really excited, if you can’t tell!  :))

Looking forward to some Milky Way bars,

Allison

P.S.  Thank you for reading.  🙂

Today–11/26/12

I know that I haven’t posted about Thanksgiving yet, but I’m not going to post about that today.  I may or may not post about that in the future – we’ll just see.  I don’t want to make any promises that I won’t end up keeping.  🙂

Today was just a normal day of school, of life.

I made an imitation Chipotle dinner tonight.  I really wasn’t planning on making the whole thing a Chipotle imitation, but it sort of took on a life of its own, and I ended up making rice, beans, and salsa, in addition to the meat.  It turned out wonderfully (if I do say so myself).  Mom ended up running to the store this evening, so she picked up some Monterey Jack cheese.  They use a blend of Jack and White Cheddar at Chipotle.  I am a HUGE fan of their cheese, just to mention one thing.  I have gotten the same thing every time I have gone to Chipotle – a Steak Burrito Bowl with brown rice (now that they offer that, I used to get white), black beans, mild salsa, and cheese.  LOTS of cheese.  I think one time I had an actual burrito.  But I much prefer the burrito bowl.  Let’s just get it out there now – I LOVE CHIPOTLE!

O.K., now that we have that covered, I can tell you what I made for dinner.  I found this recipe for Carnitas* when I was looking for slow-cooker recipes for this month’s meal plan.  I was really happy with how it turned out.  The only change I made was to use significantly less cinnamon, but I will probably up it a little next time.  Although I have only tasted the Carnita meat when my family members have extra, and I am not completely stuffed (I have never ordered it myself, as I have a thing about Chipotle’s steak), I thought it tasted a lot like Chipotle’s, and the beans and rice did, too.  I just looked online for imitation recipes, and found quite a few.  Everyone enjoyed it.  The cheese was well liked by all (see above).

No pictures.  I ate it too fast, before I remembered that I should snap a photo to share.  🙂

 

I have been reading an herb book lately (not that unusual), and in it the author discussed how great a walk is for you during the middle of the day, to take a break from desk work.  I went for a walk today, and it was lovely.  Today was a bit chilly.  It was also gray, but I rather enjoyed both of these things.  I like the cold, gray days.  They always have a certain quiet beauty about them.  I can’t explain it.  There is just a quiet serenity in the days when they are cold and gray.  They are not so shout-out-loud beautiful as the Spring days, with the colorful flowers popping their heads up everywhere.  They are not so gorgeously beautiful as the Summer days, with the intense greens of the grass and trees, and the blues of the sky.  Nor are they so gloriously beautiful as the Autumn days, with the trees dressed in their best outfits for the last party of the season, as it were.  No, the cold, gray, quiet days of early fall and winter have a majestic, serene, quiet, calming, half-gentle, half-harsh beauty about them.  I love gray days.

So I brought my camera on my walk with me.  As I had my macro lens on the camera, and didn’t really feel like changing it, I thought it would be a good exercise to try to focus on little things, and to see how many textures and small things I could catch on my walk, instead of looking for the big things, the big picture.  I wanted to zoom in, as it were, on the little beauties that were hiding on the path, things that would usually get overlooked.

Here are a few of my shots.

_MG_5750

 

_MG_5774

 

_MG_5779

LOVE the moss

_MG_5780

And the grass

_MG_5783

 

_MG_5784

Old barbed wire is so…country…

_MG_5789

…and just plain wonderful!

_MG_5795

 

_MG_5799

 

_MG_5803

 

_MG_5807

 

_MG_5814

Moss on a tree – not sure if I like this shot…

_MG_5822

…or this shot better.  What do you think?  One or two?

_MG_5827

Old rusty farm equipment

_MG_5831

 

_MG_5840

 

_MG_5851

 

_MG_5860

 

 

Thank you for reading today’s ramblings!

Love to you,
Allison

 

*Note:  I have not explored this website, so I do not endorse everything on it.  I just like this recipe.  🙂

Sunset, Blue Sky, Bare Trees, Beautiful

I know that I just posted a few hours ago, but I can’t help it.  I need to post again.

About an hour ago I looked out the window, and noticed that the sky looked lovely – deep blue with the white clouds streaked against it.  So I decided to go sit out on the deck and take a few photos.

I went and sat there and started snapping away.

Then I saw a part of the sky that I really wanted to take a picture of.  But I needed to get up to take it.  Once I was off the deck, I went for a walk.

And I was richly rewarded.

The wind was (and is) quite busy.  It was mostly warm, but suddenly I would feel a bit of cold in it, making me thankful that I had worn a jacket.

And it reminded me that, although it was 80 degrees out today, winter is still coming.  It is not far off.

I watched the sky slowly change from bright to dark, and the clouds drifting across it.

The sunset wasn’t a beautiful, colorful, amazing sunset.  It was just a quiet going-away of the sun.  The sky stayed mostly blue, with some yellows and golds near the sun, and just the faintest tinges of pink here and there.

I decided that I needed to visit one of my favorite places – the clearing (if that’s what you would call it) behind the pond.  It is so open and beautiful.  The thick grass is framed on all sides by the trees.  This time of year you can see through them all the way past the pond to the road, but in the spring and summer it is more difficult.

It feels very secluded back there, even though it isn’t.

I took Meiling and Noah with me to the clearing-behind-the-pond.  Meiling told us a bit of a story on the way.  It went something like this.

“Once there was a man named Mr. Mashmallow.  He liked dogs.  So he bought a dog.  It was a hound dog.”

(I immediately started singing “Hound Dog.” Once I finished, she continued.)

“They also had a green buffalo in their yard.”

“A green buffalo?” I asked, “In their yard?”

“Yes,” she responded.

I think that is far as she got.

On the way back home, while we were passing two conifer trees growing closely together, she said, “I am going to check if there is a bear.”  She used her flashlight to check if there was.

She then calmly informed me, “You have a baboon in your jacket.”

At this time my jacket was tied around my waist.  Not sure exactly what was meant by this.  I don’t think she was referring to me.  No, she doesn’t do that yet.

She then informed me that she was trying to “freak me out.”

She makes me laugh.

And not long after that, we were home.

_MG_5090

On the deck – the sky through the tree

_MG_5093

Relaxin’

_MG_5099

This caption goes for the next few pictures: I LOVE the bare tree limbs against the lovely sky!

_MG_5101

LOVE the clouds

_MG_5102

 

_MG_5103

 

_MG_5106

 

_MG_5108

 

_MG_5111

 

_MG_5112

 

_MG_5114

 

_MG_5118

An airplane flew by 🙂

_MG_5121

I LOVE THE CLOUDS!!!!

_MG_5123

Leaving the deck

_MG_5124

 

_MG_5127

Somebody’s excited about her bone!

_MG_5134

 

_MG_5140

These trees are my favorite.  They look so beautiful all the time – in spring, summer, winter, and fall, in fresh green, bright sun, soft rain, and snow

_MG_5149

The sky in front of our home was particularly striking

_MG_5152

SO beautiful

_MG_5154

So BEAUTIFUL

_MG_5155

 

_MG_5158

Lines

_MG_5161

 

_MG_5162

 

_MG_5167

 

_MG_5171

My feet, or lack thereof

_MG_5174

 

_MG_5180

 

_MG_5182

 

_MG_5185

Were does it lead?

_MG_5186

A lovely wooded walk (I went this way, in case you were wondering)

_MG_5187

 

_MG_5193

Walkin’

_MG_5194

This make me smile

_MG_5198

On the way to the clearing-behind-the-pond with Meiling and Noah

_MG_5199

 

_MG_5201

 

_MG_5203

 

_MG_5210

Following the path

_MG_5214

 

_MG_5220

Meiling thought she saw a bunny, so she went to look

_MG_5221

It turned out to be only waving grass

_MG_5222

 

_MG_5230

 

_MG_5232

 

_MG_5238

Heading back home

_MG_5240

 

_MG_5244

The warm home-light beckons

_MG_5251